The commlink startled Tony and he cracked his head on the undercarriage of the car. He barely felt the impact through the dermal deposits, but the troll cursed anyway as he popped up an AR window to answer.
“Tony’s Auto Repair and Salvage.”, he said, getting back to work on the Nissan’s transmission.
“Hello, Tony”, came Clarisse’s voice through the audio-only connection.
Tony’s forehead hit the car again. “CLARISSE! Where the hell have you been? I’ve been worried sick! You left the hospital more than two weeks ago! You come home this instant, young lady, or so help me…”
“TONY!” Clarisse cut in. “I’m not coming back to the garage. I’m only calling because I told Frenchie and Sam that I would.”
Tony stared at the generic icon in the display. “What? Why? But…this is your home, Clarisse.”
“No, Tony, it’s the building that I spent my childhood. That’s over now. I’m an adult, and I’m looking after myself.”
“Looking after yourself? But you’re just a kid. And why are you saying my name like that? Are you taking your medications? Please, Clarisse, come home so we can go back to how things were.”
“Nothing can be the way it was. That’s over now. Goodbye, Tony.”
As Clarisse cut the connection, Tony screamed into the AR window, “Clarisse? CLARISSE! FRAG!”
He swung blindly in frustration, pain exploding in his fist as the driveshaft of the Jackrabbit bore the brunt of his anger, the carbon-fiber tube deforming under the impact.
Over? No. This wasn’t over. Not by a long shot.